Monsanto Roundup Lawsuit

Monday, March 25, 2013

Adult ADHD - The Comic



I've heard about adult ADHD before, never really took much notice as I honestly thought that grown-ups wouldn't be taken in by such mumbo-jumbo. I didn't even know [my naivety] that adult ADHD was being promoted here in New Zealand - kind of makes sense that it is though seeing as the NZ government tackle everyday emotions with drugs. Quit smoking - try Champix - Depressed - Try an SSRi.

Adult ADHD is, it has to be said, one of the more ridiculous mental disorders to hit the streets and make the pharmaceutical industry even richer.

Yesterday, whilst sitting in the waiting room of a doctor's surgery, I was thumb twiddling, bored out of my mind as the only magazines available to read were trashy gossip types, you know the kind, the close-up paparazzi shots of actresses in their mid thirties who [shock-horror] have rings under their eyes or a crease or two on their thighs.

Not one for reading about rings and creases I turned my attention to the array of brochures lining the waiting room wall. Two in particular caught my attention, one was a quit smoking brochure, the other 'Adult ADHD'.

The quit smoking brochure was basically promoting Champix, the smoking cessation drug that can make you want to kill yourself. I've highlighted the whole Champix promotion here in New Zealand in a previous post [see - Sometimes the New Zealand Government Get It Wrong]

In this post I will focus on the second brochure I picked up yesterday. [See Fig 1 and 2]

I was giggling to myself whilst reading the 'science' or lack of. There's even a test adults can take to seek help from their doctor if they score 4 or more out of the 6 questions provided.

I took the test, hey I had nothing better to do and I found it more entertaining than reading about creases and rings on the latest celebrity to be dragged down from a pedestal she never wanted to be on in the first place.

I scored 4 and the brochure recommends that I make an appointment to see my doctor.

Yikes! I may have adult ADHD - How on earth did I get this mental disorder?

Well the brochure tells me, in no uncertain terms, that adult ADHD may be a result of my kids having ADHD?

Now, I'm confused? My kids don't have ADHD, although if they had taken any of the tests designed to make them have ADHD then I'm sure the brochure would have reeled me in.

Okay, so my kids don't have it, how come I do?

According to the brochure common symptoms of adult ADHD are:

Difficulty in relationships - Yup, myself and Maria do have our disagreements and, hey, I was divorced many years ago due to having difficulties in a relationship - They got me.

Difficulty in starting complex tasks and completing tasks - Um, does that include putting a shelf up or prepping a wall to be plastered? If so, they got me again.

Increased incidence of car accidents/traffic violations - well, I don't drive but I do cross the road without using pedestrian crossings - I think that's called Jaywalking in America - maybe it's now been deemed as a mental disorder? You laugh but almost everything else is so why not Jaywalking?

Lack of organisation - Oops, they got me again. I couldn't organise a drinks festival in a brewery!

Apparently, when compared with adults who don't have adult ADHD, I may have higher rates of anxiety, depression and substance use disorders. I'm doomed, doomed I tell ya.

Fear not, the brochure tells me some important news, a lovely big green box with bold white writing tells me, "While ADHD cannot be cured, medication and behaviour management strategies can help to control the symptoms associated with ADHD."

Oh yippie! I'm saved... saved I tell ya.

Okay, so how did I get this brain disorder? - I know it's a brain disorder because the brochure tells me so.

"ADHD is a brain disorder that can cause hyperactivity, impulsivity and difficulties paying attention"

Oh, someone just walked in the waiting room with a limp....

Dang it there goes my concentration.

The brochure continues with the science behind adult ADHD:

"It is estimated that 4% of adults in the US have ADHD" - Golly, must be something they put in the water, right? Anyway, I live in New Zealand and drink rain water [through a filter of course]

"If this rate of occurance is true for NZ", according to the brochure, "this means that approximately 86,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 50 years of age have ADHD."

Gadzooks!

Furthermore, the brochure tells me:

"ADHD is a highly heritable disorder, and approximately 20% of parents of children with ADHD have ADHD themselves."

The test is based around six questions, the answers range from never to very often. You can take the test yourself, just click on Fig 2.

I have to say the whole brochure kept me entertained and lifted my boredom whilst sitting for almost an hour in the waiting room - very uncomfortable on those hard plastic chairs that I found myself fidgeting a lot, ironically that's yet another symptom of ADHD.

The 6 question test that appeared in the brochure, called 'The Adult ADHD Self Report Scale Screener' [ASRS] is copyrighted to the World Health Organisation [WHO]

The information sourced in the brochure comes courtesy of Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Janssen manufacture and market Concerta [methylphenidate], a drug used for ADHD.

The brochure may fall into the hands of someone who actually believes the garbage written within it. How often do people get emails telling them they have won the Nigerian lottery? Many of us do, but many of us recognise that it's just a scam - sadly there's a small percentage sucked in and it's those that often part with money to release the lottery winnings from the Bank of Umberjaja.

This brochure was written in exactly the same way as those Nigerian email scams. They were designed to target the vulnerable, to make those vulnerable people believe that, a; they could have something and b; they just needed to part with some cash to get to that something.

That's pretty much how the pharmaceutical industry work - they plant the seed then offer the remedy. They offer no science but selective science. They'll gather 50 or so studies on ADHD, cherry pick all the bits that benefit them and bury the bits that would actually benefit the patient.

If written in the 1970's, early 80's this brochure would have made a great skit for the 'Not the Nine O'Clock News' team. Messrs Atkinson, Smith, Jones and Stephenson wouldn't have needed to work out a funny routine, the brochure is basically the screenplay.

I've used 'Not the Nine O'Clock News' as an example because the brochure reminds me so much of the 'Constable Savage' skit performed by Rowan Atkinson and Griff Rhys Jones. It's so ludicrously absurd that one has to laugh at the belief.

Constable Savage [Jones] likes to take the law into his own hands. This is frowned upon by his Sergeant [Atkinson]. It's not difficult to make comparisons here.



The comedic brochure, complete with The Adult ADHD Self Report Scale Screener, is below.


Fig 1


Fig 2


Bob Fiddaman





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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Glaxo: Beagles, Blacks and Hispanics



This post was going to solely focus on Glaxo's involvement in the AIDS-related drug tests on parentless children in a home for kids with HIV, known as the Incarnation trials.

Sadly, news has just broke of yet more shenanigans by Glaxo, this time from their Verona HQ in Italy.

Glaxo, it appears, have been accused of holding 32 beagle dogs against their will, something which they claim "has no basis in fact" on their Facebook page. [1]

I'll write about the beagles first then move on to the Incarnation trials.

Browndog is an organisation set up to end all experiments on dogs in the UK. I recently joined their Facebook page as news is filtering through that protesters have gathered outside Glaxo's HQ in Verona, Italy. It's alleged that Glaxo hold 32 beagles for experimentation.

This from the Glaxo Facebook page:


[1]


However, Browndog, seem to think otherwise and have posted a recent photo from outside the Verona plant. [2]

2

Glaxo have also responded to a comment claiming that they don't do tests/experiments on Beagles anymore, in fact, they go as far to say that, "Aptuit acquired the Verona research centre from GSK in 2010." [3] They even included a link to back up their claim.

3

Whatever the case may be, Glaxo's Facebook page has been inundated with messages of protests by dog lovers far and wide. It's easy to see why there is such a hoo-har given that beagles are a much loved breed of dog. Here's one undergoing some sort of test [4]

4
Glaxo are no strangers to controversy, in fact this whole post was going to re-hash a story from some time ago but I had to get in the breaking beagle news, if only to play a small part in their release from either Glaxo or Aptuit. In fact, if it transpires that Glaxo have nothing to hide then the title of this post may be changed from, 'Glaxo: Beagles, Blacks and Hispanics' simply to 'Glaxo: Blacks and Hispanics'

Glaxo and the Incarnation trials

So, what exactly were the Incarnation trials and how are GlaxoSmithKline linked?

Well, at the time of the breaking news Glaxo were, through various media releases, named as one of the sponsors in a pretty shameful trial going on at the Incarnation Children's Center [ICC] in New York.

In 2004,  Liam Scheff, an investigative reporter, had gained access to information that foster children at ICC had been subjected to experimental AIDS drug trials. Scheff learned that children were removed from their guardians who had refused to give those they had adopted drugs that were making the children sick. He also learned that children who could not tolerate swallowing the drugs were coerced [forced] to have plastic tubes surgically inserted in their stomachs to ensure that the drugs were administered.

Two days ago I finally managed to track down the BBC documentary, "Guinea Pig Kids", first broadcast on BBC television on Tuesday, 30 November, 2004. The half-hour long documentary, made by Liam Scheff, is harrowing viewing. I've provided the documentary in its entirety at the foot of this post.

If you are looking for an all out attack on Glaxo you'll be disappointed. In fact they are only briefly mentioned. This from the narrator of Guinea Pig Kids, Amanda St John:


In a mass grave owned by the Roman Catholic Church close to Manhattan, over a thousand children’s bodies, including some who were enrolled in the trials, lie beneath a tarpaulin. Officially their deaths are recorded only as resulting from ‘natural causes’.
For months, we tried to get answers from those behind the trials – from Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, where many of the tests were devised. From Incarnation Children’s Centre. From the Catholic Church. And from the ACS; the authority ultimately responsible. None would comment.
The drug companies which have supported trials at Incarnation include some of the world’s largest. Among them Britain’s own GlaxoSmithKline.
They also refused to be interviewed for this program saying only that all trials have stringent standards and are in compliance with local laws and regulations.


You have to watch the documentary to see exactly what Glaxo are suggesting "are in compliance with local laws and regulations." It's pretty grim viewing.

Pay particular attention to what Jacklyn Hoerger has to say. Hoerger was a pediatric nurse who worked at Incarnation for five years.

If they were vomiting, if they lost their ability to walk, if they were having diarrhea  if they were dying; that all of this was because of their HIV infection and to be expected and that we were doing the best we could to save them from that.
It didn't come as my first thought at all to question the medication and since I had worked with pediatric AIDS for many years and had given the medication, I just faithfully gave it as I was told by the doctors.

Guinea Pig Kids also features a 15 year old boy who relives the experience of his time at the Incarnation Children's Center:

My friend, Jolice, she never, never ever liked to take her medicine. So they used to hold her down and force it down her throat. I tell her every single day, ‘please take your medicine; you don’t want a tube in your stomach’. But she didn't listen to me. That’s what she got. And my friend Daniel, he didn't like to take his medicine either and he got a tube in his stomach.

The Guardian newspaper broke the story in the UK, they wrote:

Orphans and babies as young as three months old have been used as guinea pigs in potentially dangerous medical experiments sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, an Observer investigation has revealed.
British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline is embroiled in the scandal. The firm sponsored experiments on the children from Incarnation Children's Centre, a New York care home that specialises in treating HIV sufferers and is run by Catholic charities.

The documentary, as you will learn, highlights how the drugs were being used on the kids just to test the 'toxicity' of Aids medications, one of which was Glaxo's AZT [also known as Zidovudine]

As far as I'm aware Glaxo have never been brought to task about their involvement in these trials. It begs the question, why?

Be they beagles, black or hispanic children, GlaxoSmithKline have a lot of unveiling if they are to be true to their word of clinical trial transparency.

Glaxo's major shareholders include, Dodge & Cox Stock,  Royal Bank Of Canada, Invesco Advisers, Inc, Bank of New York Mellon Corp and Wells Fargo Bank NA.

Glaxo have also recently formed a partnership with F1 racing group, McLaren. Everybody's hero, Jensen Button, is supporting the GSK initiative. If only he knew...

Here's Guinea Pig Kids.




Bob Fiddaman





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Monday, March 18, 2013

Are Coroners Ignorant of Facts?

I think that I am familiar with the fact that you are going to ignore this particular problem until it swims up and BITES YOU ON THE ASS! 



Are coroners ignorant of facts?

It's a fair enough question and one that I'd answer with a resounding 'yes'.

I can't imagine for one minute that choosing to be a coroner is a pleasant experience. I'm reminded of when I was a kid and asked what I wanted to be when I grew up - footballer, truck driver. Perversely  some might suggest, I even had being a postman marked down as a goal. I cannot recall one single kid either in my class at school or social friends ever wanting to be a coroner - to be honest I don't think anyone knew back then what a coroner was. Who wants to work with dead people anyway?


It takes a special breed of person to become a coroner. Day in, day out, they sit and listen to evidence of how Joe Bloggs was cut from the wreckage of his car or how Jane Doe was brutally gang raped then murdered. All this after eating breakfast, a spot of lunch then home for dinner/tea with their partners and families.

Yes, it takes a very special kind of person to be able to switch off emotions, images, grief.

It has to be said, coroners are exceptional in switching off, they have this in-built mechanism that comes into play - it enables them all to step out the bubble of overwhelming loss - they [think] they know they may be able to shed some light on how and why a person died but they can only do so by 'switching off'.

It's plainly obvious to a growing number of people that coroners not only switch off emotion they also switch off the logic button. One would have thought that coroners, of all people, could apply simple logic to sometimes complex inquests. They choose not to. Having switched off the emotional attachment they also switch off the human attachment. They become God.

Many readers will know that I've recently promoted the website, AntiDepAware. Brian, the author and researcher, has collated over 1600 inquests where the use of antidepressant type medications were involved. One of Brian's latest posts really struck a chord with me - it pretty much sums up what I am trying to say in this post.

Brian has carefully followed the inquests of particular coroners, in his post, Coroner’s Progress 2, he highlights clearly that certain coroners are either playing the God card or, as I suspect, are just pig-headed and ignorant about a problem that is so glaring even a kindergarten pupil could spot it.

"Norfolk Coroner William Armstrong", writes Brian, "is retiring at the end of September 2013."

Brian goes on to write how Armstrong became influential in changing the procedure for licensing shotguns. Apparently Armstrong had been involved in many inquests where firearms were concerned so he decided to do something about it. Kudos to Armstrong for that.

However, where Armstrong saw a link between suicide and firearms he has, on many occasions failed to see the link between suicide and medication. He's not alone, almost every single coroner fail to recognise this common link.

Here's part of Armstrong's career highlights as a coroner, courtesy of AntiDepAware.


Joanne Brown, 41 [1]

… Since about 2005 she had been suffering from serious mood swings resulting from a mental health condition for which she was receiving treatment, although her medication was not always being managed effectively …

….. The coroner said Mrs Brown had suffered for several years from a mental disorder causing mood swings and one happened on December 13. She clearly intended to bring her life to an end and he recorded a verdict of “suicide while suffering from a mental disorder”.



Mark Osler, 51 [2]

Mr Osler shot and seriously injured his ex-lover, then shot himself dead.

… Greater Norfolk Coroner William Armstrong read a statement by Mr Osler’s GP saying he was being prescribed anti-depressants.

He had mentioned having fleeting suicidal thoughts in June. On July 9, he said he was still feeling low and anxious and sleeping badly but never expressed any intention to hurt anyone or take his own life … What happened was completely unexpected and a great shock …

No further comment by Mr Armstrong on antidepressants was reported. 


Pamela Thomas, 59 [3]

A CORONER is asking Norfolk police to consider reviewing the scope of firearms licence applications after a woman died from shooting herself, an inquest heard …

… He said there was “no deficiency” in the procedure when Mr Thomas received his latest firearms licence.

But he added: “I have noted that when someone applies for a gun certificate the police will ask questions of their character. There is no obligation to ask about the physical or mental health of everyone in the household.”

Mr Armstrong said at the time the licence was granted Mrs Thomas had not made an attempt to take her own life, but she had been suffering from depression for a long time.

“For a woman to kill herself with a gun is a very rare event,” he said.

The coroner told the hearing this was one of three shotgun suicides in a short period of time and he proposed to ask the chief constable in Norfolk to look at how firearm licences are issued.

However, no comment from Mr Armstrong was reported on the following:

… A medical report from her GP, Adrian Clifton, said she had made good progress on her increased anti-depressants, following her attempted overdose in March which she “regretted” …



These are just three examples of Armstrong's ten reported inquests that AntiDepAware offer for scrutiny. On no occasion has Armstrong ever felt the need to investigate the antidepressant/suicide link - Why?

The three inquests [above] highlight the use of firearms in three separate deaths. They also highlight how all three deaths had another link - antidepressant use.

Armstrong chose to ignore the antidepressant link in a further 7 inquests he conducted, 6 of which involved no firearms.

I find it astonishing that a coroner could turn a blind eyes to overwhelming evidence that, at the very least, warranted further investigation.

Was Armstrong switched off during these inquests, so much so that he missed the link or did he just choose to ignore the link because, hey, depressed people have "mental disorders", right?

We see many Armstrong type figures do the same on a daily basis throughout global coroners courts. They sit in judgement of the dead when in actual fact they should be sitting in judgement for the dead.

Five years ago the 3 month long inquest of 17 year old Toran Henry came to it's conclusion. The coroner stated at the end that children should continue to take their medication as and when prescribed. Toran had killed himself a couple of weeks after being prescribed fluox, the generic version of Prozac. Earlier in the inquest the presiding coroner had stated that in his 8 years of being a coroner, "I struggle to recall a suicide in which Fluoxetine was regarded as being a cause or development."

The pharmaceutical company that manufacture fluox, Mylan Labs, had received an adverse reaction report for Toran. After 5 long years they concluded that the fluox Toran ingested was the most probable cause of his induced suicide. [4]

The inquest of Sara Carlin, an 18 year old from Oakville, Toronto saw Coroner's Counsel, Michael Blain, appear in front of TV camera's on the first day of the inquest. He told reporters and the watching public, "The Courts acknowledge that this medication can increase thoughts of suicide in particular patients but 'they' don't think that the medication played a role in Sara Carlin's death." [5]

This was day one of Sara's inquest. It appears that 'the Courts' had already made their mind up without first hearing the evidence.

Sara hanged herself after being prescribed GlaxoSmithKline's Paxil, known as Seroxat in the UK.

This brings me, conveniently, to a study published in International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine [6]

Although the study focuses on violence and not suicide the conclusion pretty much highlights where coroners are either enjoying the role of playing God or ignoring the evidence. The authors conclude:


The deep trench that separates the law from forensic pharmacology is unfortunate and causes injustice, largely invisible to the legal profession. Legal processes generally seem reluctant to implicate the drugs, for whatever reason, preferring instead to look elsewhere. This unexplained bias needs to be examined. Even if people are in general prepared to accept the evidence, many cannot bring it to bear in specific cases.
Two steps could be taken now. First, legal administrations in all countries should ensure that courts under their control obtain appropriate expert evidence from a forensic psychiatrist or pharmacologist in all cases where a prescribed drug could have caused violent or other criminal behaviour.
Second, criminal courts and coroner’s courts should be supplied with an annotated list of drugs that can cause violent behaviour. That need not take long because solid building blocks for such a list have recently been compiled from national pharmacovigilance databases in the United States and in France. The list should be updated regularly.

I cannot for the life of me apply any logic to the stance of coroners regarding antidepressants and suicide. I'm constantly reminded of the line from the movie Jaws.


Mayor Vaughn: I don't think either of one you are familiar with our problems. 
Hooper: I think that I am familiar with the fact that you are going to ignore this particular problem until it swims up and BITES YOU ON THE ASS! 

It takes a special breed of person to become a coroner...

Bob Fiddaman





[1] Tragedy of mum's shotgun suicide - Published on 28/03/2010 - Lynn News
[2] Gunman took his own life, inquest rules - Published on 28/06/2011 - Lynn News
[3] Coroner’s appeal after Heacham gun death - Published on 19/07/2011 - Lynn News
[4] Mylan Pharmaceuticals Admits their Drug is the Probable Cause of My Son’s Suicide - Published on December 16, 2012 - Mad In America
[5] Sara Carlin Inquest: Day One [VIDEO]
[6] Case histories as evidence - International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine - Andrew Herxheimer, David Healy and David B. Menkes 24 (2012) 23–29





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Thursday, March 14, 2013

New Website Challenging Coroners About Suicide




I love it when an idea comes along that has been so blatantly obvious to me... that it's passed me by.

There are many bloggers who have their own styles, their own personal stories to tell, their own take on the pharmaceutical industry, psychiatry, antidepressants.

An area that has interested me has been the whole coronial process. I first became interested in this during my coverage of the Sara Carlin inquest and later the inquests of Shane Clancy and Toran Henry. Three young human beings whose lives were cut short by suicide, all were seemingly normal kids, all were taking antidepressant medication at the time of their deaths, namely, Paxil [Seroxat], Citalopram [Celexa], and Fluox [Prozac].


AntiDepAware is a new website that challenges the coronial system, it's a fascinating read and the author, Brian, has collated many media stories where suicides have occurred but coroners have just ignored the medication link.

Yes, it's another website created to make people aware of antidepressant dangers but where it differs from many is it highlights the failure of coroners to take this issue seriously. It's coming from another angle that I like most about Brian's website, that and the fact that he has meticulously crafted a very strong database of 1600 inquests in England and Wales between 2003 - 2012.

Brian has painstakingly gathered all the information, which he freely admits is just the tip of the iceberg, through various media resources. He writes:

"...all the information here has been found on the Internet, mostly in the archives of local newspapers. I have had no privileged access to any other material. I have limited myself to reports from the past 10 years concerning deaths in England and Wales.

"...this list is far from complete. In fact, it could be subtitled “the tip of the iceberg”. For every inquest report that I was able to include, there was at least another where toxicology was completely excluded from the report, or where medication was hidden behind phrases such as “she was being treated for depression” or “he saw his GP”."

I was reading one of Brian's posts earlier about Coroner Ian Smith. Smith became famous in 2004 when he spoke out about antidepressants during the inquest of a local writer who had hanged himself “out of the blue”.

Smith had heard evidence during the inquest that the local writer was in the course of switching medication from Effexor (Venlafaxine) to Seroxat. To make the transition, he had gradually stopped taking Effexor and had been taking Seroxat for 11 days when he died.

In his summation, Smith pressed for more research into the antidepressant/suicide link as he had previously held two inquests where the person/s had been switching medication.

In 2008 Smith hit the news again.


In March 2008, at the inquest of a retired bank manager, Mr Smith spoke of a link between antidepressants and suicide:
One of Cumbria’s coroners is to contact drug authorities because he fears people are killing themselves after taking antidepressants.
Ian Smith is to write to the Committee on the Safety of Medicines – an independent advisory body …
… Mr Smith told the inquest he knew of several other suspected suicides involving the same group of antidepressants, known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
He said: “I have to say this is probably the fifth, if not sixth inquest I’ve heard within a period of three years when somebody either just going on to Citalopram or Seroxat, or coming off it, have killed themselves one way or another, totally out of the blue, totally without expectation, without a history of suicidal thoughts in the past.” 
The following month, Mr Smith conducted the inquest into the death by hanging of a farmer.
He … criticised the use of antidepressants and expressed concerns over a pattern of people taking their own lives days after being prescribed the drugs …

Coroner Smith was right, although contacting the Committee on the Safety of Medicines [CSM] would have been frivolous. My experience of the CSM is that they are about as effective as trying to slam a revolving door.

In 2004 the, then, chief executive of Mind, Richard Brook resigned from the Committee after he was told by the British drugs regulator, the MHRA, not to reveal the Committee's findings that Seroxat had, for years, been prescribed by doctors in an unsafe dose and that the regulators had the evidence in their possession for more than 10 years. The MHRA threatened Brook with prosecution if he went public, he basically handed them the middle finger and went public anyhow. [1]

What the MHRA were asking of Brook was to keep secret from the public that GlaxoSmithKline's Seroxat was being prescribed in unsafe dosages. The MHRA, who remember carry the tagline, "Safeguarding human health", had knew this for ten whole years but decided, in their infinite wisdom, that this information would be best kept under lock and key, in other words they didn't see that releasing this information would safeguard human health. Perverse kind of thinking, wouldn't you say?

Not so perverse when you learn three things.

1. The MHRA are entirely funded by the pharmaceutical industry

2. The Chairman of the MHRA at the time had previously been employed by GlaxoSmithKline.

3. The Head of Licensing at the MHRA was former world safety officer at GlaxoSmithKline, one of his interests whilst working for Glaxo was the antidepressant, Seroxat.


Anyway, talking or writing about the MHRA always leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

AntiDepAware is a must read. It will open your eyes to the closed eyes of Coroners.

The home page is HERE, recent posts are on the right hand side.

Bob Fiddaman



[1] The riddle of the drug regulators [Link]




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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Andrew Witty Becomes Chancellor of The University of Nottingham

Glaxo Chief, Andrew Witty, Sir Andrew if you please, has been installed as the new Chancellor of The University of Nottingham.

Witty, who graduated from The University of Nottingham in 1985 with a BA in Economics, said, “I am honoured to become Chancellor of this great institution, which, alongside my parents and my school, I would credit with having made me who I am. This is a unique and special way for me to give something back.” [Link]

There was no mention of the £12 million donation toward the construction of new research laboratories at the University that Glaxo made last year, the largest single donation the University have ever received. [Link]

No mention of Witty's role in the Wellbutrin/Zyban debacle [Link]

No mention either of Witty refusing to speak with patients harmed by Glaxo's product, Seroxat [Link]

The photo's below, courtesy of uonottingham Flickr photostream, have left me wondering how the parents of kids who died by Paxil induced suicide would feel today if they could see their kids prosper at university.


Be sure to play the video at the foot of this post.












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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Glaxo and the Social Media Presentation



I had to laugh.

It appears GlaxoSmithKline have been the subject of a social media presentation carried out by Gary Monk, a Healthcare Innovation Consultant.

The slideshow features the GlaxoSmithKline Facebook page and Monk praises the efforts of Glaxo.

The presentation was shown to an audience at the SMI Social Media Conference in London back in January. I sincerely hope they enjoyed it as much of it contains some of my posts on the Glaxo Facebook page.

Monk writes:

"GSK was used as an example of best practice. I have no professional affiliation to the GSK Facebook page and have not interviewed GSK on this interesting subject.All observations and opinions are my own."

Monk refers to me as a "persistent detractor" at the same time praising Glaxo for allowing my posts but not responding to them. [Fig 1] (Click on all images to enlarge)



Fig 1


Well, Mr Monk, if you think not answering serious questions about a company whose drugs have been implicated in young children carrying out suicide is worthy of praise then I have to question your ethics.

Monk's presentation continues with another screen shot of one of my replies to Glaxo, again he refers to me as a "detractor" [Fig 2]

Fig 2


Monk also points out that Glaxo receive many positive replies on their Facebook page. He acknowledges that the positive replies are actually ex or current GlaxoSmithKline employees. [Fig 3]

Fig 3


The presentation points out how Glaxo are able to post about their successes, something I covered on this blog in a post entitled, "The New York Times and GlaxoSmithKline". It was basically something I wrote about how Glaxo love to cover themselves in garlands.

Monk then continues his presentation with another screenshot, he adds, "Again, the same individuals attack these achievements and accuse GSK of hypocrisy" [Fig 4]

Fig 4


Slide 21 of the 30 in the presentation sees Monk highlighting a response from Elaine Billings, although Monk has chose to redact her surname [Fig 5]. You'll note that Monk claims that "GSK have been very brave to allow these types of posts to be shared."


Fig 5


Elaine wrote a guest post for my blog a few weeks ago. "Antidepressants Killed My Son" can be read here.

In slide 24 Monk concludes the following:

"What GSK do brilliantly is post regular news items,particularly on positive news items, not directly related to GSK. This helps fill the FaceBook wall with positive commentary and quickly ‘bury’negative comments further down the news feed."

Yup, Glaxo are the past masters at burying negative news Mr Monk, thanks for confirming the tactics.

Glaxo executive Bonnie Rossello wrote in a 1997 memo on what the company would do if forced to conduct animal studies on Paxil, "If neg, results can bury," she wrote. This memo was read at the opening of the Lyam Kilker trial. Lyam had been born with heart defects after his mother ingested Paxil [known as Seroxat in the UK] during her pregnancy. The jury in the Kilker trial found Glaxo's Paxil did indeed cause the child to be born with heart defects. Another example of GSK's bravery, huh?

The presentation by Monk concludes with his findings that the positive comments significantly outweigh the negative comments. May be a good idea to change that then.

I hope tea and cakes were provided to the audience of this presentation.

Glaxo's Facebook page can be found here.

Bob Fiddaman... the persistent detractor.




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Antidepressant Suicide - The Gene Solution






About 6 months ago I became aware of Sundance Diagnostics, a company who have, for some time, been investigating the link between popular antidepressants and suicide. Convinced there is a link Sundance now hope to try and tackle this problem by giving patients and their carers a warning that many doctor's fail to do.

Sundance are a diagnostics development company based in Boulder, Colarado.

In an interview with Sundance CEO, Kim Bechthold, I asked her what the Sundance goal was, she told me:


"We hope to curb the risk of suicidality and potentially the risk of violence when people take antidepressant drugs.
"Second, we hope that the availability of a test for risk causes the doctor to have to explain to every patient and every family member that taking an antidepressant drug carries with it a serious risk (medical liability insurers in the United States may require the doctor to order the test).  
"Last we hope to foster a major patient information initiative so that the patient will know to ask for the test, if the doctor does not offer it.  
"All of this depends on our research resulting in a very sound and predictive set of genetic markers that are very helpful clinically for the physician and very informative for the patient and his or her family."

Peter Tolias, Scientific Advisor to Sundance Diagnostics, told me:
"Sundance will be using whole genome sequencing of patients who experienced suicidal ideation and controls – that is patients who did not. This technology allows Sundance to identify the entire 3 billion base pairs in every person’s genome."
There's many advocates who would suggest that SSRi type medication be pulled from the shelves, studies have showed that SSRi's show little or no benefit over placebo and even when an SSRi has shown efficacy in clinical trials, it's effectiveness has been 'minimal'.

The proposed genetic test isn't just about identifying the risk of suicide whilst on antidepressants. Tolias told me, "Many other factors should always be considered – other illnesses, other medications, social stress, diet, nutrition and infectious diseases, to name only a few."

I asked Sundance if a test came back showing the patient had a high risk of suicide [when taking an SSRi] would it mean that they would be safe from harm if a doctor prescribed an alternative such as an antipsychotic?, they told me:

“No.  Nothing in the medical world that we know of is showing any data that a drug in the antidepressant or antipsychotic class of drugs is completely safe.
 "So high risk means only to use judgment, clinical information, family knowledge and support, and, taking all into account, to consider whether antidepressant drugs, of any kind, for that patient, may not be worth the risk.

"Depending on our research, the report to the doctor and patient will say that the patient has a genetic prediction of risk for treatment-emergent suicide and the risk is in the lower, medium or higher category (or some similar designation of degree of risk).  We would explain completely the markers and the reason for the prediction of lower, medium or higher risk. 
"We may say that the patient carries none of the markers that would predict risk, according to our study, but caution still needs to be taken for all of the possible conditions that could still lead to suicide risk."


There will be many who would suggest that Sundance are putting all their efforts into screening for a possible link when it's been shown that the efficacy of SSRi's  has only been shown to be minimal. Surely, we need to target the pharmaceutical companies and key opinion leaders?

Hello!

This has been done for years.

I've been criticising medicine regulators, pharmaceutical companies and key opinion leaders for the last seven years. There are many others that have gone before me, many more who continue to write about the dangers of these drugs. We all play a part but do pharmaceutical companies really care about people shouting from rooftops about the dangers of their wares?

We've all been witnesses to see how they have worked around the black box warnings [FDA] and recommendations [MHRA].

Point is, SSRis are still being prescribed and there is nothing in place that can tell a patient how dangerous it may be for him/her if they were to start taking them.

Pharmaceutical companies have known about the risk of suicide for poor and intermediate metabolizers for many years. What's a small percentage of suicide to them?

The pharmaceutical industry is a well oiled machine. They monitor websites, blogs, forums. They like to know what is being said about their products. They and I know that the general public will always lean toward the guy with the white coat and stethoscope so a couple of hundred people writing about the lack of efficacy and suicide links causes them a minor itch.

When faced with litigation the pharmaceutical industry will make huge settlements because they really don't want the truth exposed.

Lawyers for plaintiffs will discover evidence that is damning. They'll deposition pharmaceutical executives who will be told by their own personal attorneys to say nothing that implicates any individuals.

So, here we have Sundance Diagnostics. A company that don't tell us they are searching for a suicide link in antidepressants - they've already done their homework on that issue. They know there is a link. What, it appears, they are trying to achieve here is to put the antidepressant/suicide link in front of doctors and patients with science.

For years I have been frustrated by the lack of courage that regulators of these drugs have shown. SSRi's are dangerous, not only for children but for adults too. Children have been targeted by pharmaceutical companies because new brain disorders have miraculously appeared. They offer no science behind these disorders. I've yet to see an MRI scan image of a child with ADHD or anxiety disorder.

Sundance, if successful, will have the science to show the prescribing doctor and individuals. They have estimated that over half a million of these individuals per year are at significant risk of developing drug-induced suicidal thoughts.

Part of the Sundance press release today states the following:

"If successful, the new tests will be available for each patient before a drug is prescribed.  The physician can then take action appropriate for the patient throughout the course of therapy. 
"Family members, who before now may not have been advised of antidepressant medications’ side effects, can be informed of the patient’s specific risk and can actively participate in ensuring the safety of the patient during treatment, helping to determine the level of monitoring that is warranted and making decisions on complementary therapies and alternatives to medication."

Although Sundance will be centering their research on SSRi induced suicide they will, if successful, branch out to include those who may be susceptible to withdrawal reactions. SSRi medications are at the tip of a very big iceberg. Smoking cessation, statins, acne, anti-biotics, painkillers, hay fever medications, in fact any drug that may cause anxiety and, ultimately, lead to suicide, may well be on the Sundance radar soon.


Ask any of the following surviving family members if they would use a genetic test if their loved ones were still alive today.

Bob Fiddaman





Related Links:

Sundance Diagnostics, a Genetic Test Pre-Suicide [Leonie Fennell]

Genetic Testing for Suicide Risk [Maria Bradshaw]



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Sunday, March 03, 2013

Guest Post: Antidepressants Killed My Son





Every now and again I offer readers the chance to write a guest post for this blog. It's proved very popular, in fact the two of the most popular posts on this blog are guest posts. [see Prescription Drug Suicide and Involuntary Transformation]

There are many people who want to tell their story.

Today's story was written by Elaine Billings. Elaine's son had been prescribed Zoloft [Pfizer] and Wellbutrin [aka Zyban - GlaxoSmithKline] for anxiety.

Tommy was 42.




Antidepressants Killed My Son

September 8, 2011:


I looked out my dining room window, and I watched my son mowing his lawn for a while. I hadn't seen him for about ten days, because he had been working at The New York State Fair in Syracuse, NY. Something he had done for the last ten years or so. I stood there near that window smiling, as only a mother could smile at her own child. I told myself, I would call him later in the day and invite him and his family to dinner the next day. Friday the 9th that is, and I would make one of his favorite meals, Macaroni and Cheese and Fried Fish. I already knew he'd say yes, and I was content and happy with my life. How could I have foreseen, that it would be the last time, I would see my beloved son, alive!


My husband had gone downtown earlier in the afternoon to run some errands. When he came home he said, "boy there's a lot of things going on in town today!" I replied, "really what's going on?" He said, "while I was in the drug store, I heard someone telling that a man had committed suicide in town." I said, "Oh no, I hope it isn't anyone we know!" Just a few minutes after that conversation, my world ceased, and I plummeted into Hell!

You see, my daughter in-law walked into the house crying, and I thought something happened to her mother. Because her mom had been sick, and I knew they were out together. I got up from my computer, and went to her. I put my my hands on her, and asked, "what's the matter Tina, has something happened to your mom?" She shook her head no. I looked into her eyes and said in a questioning way, "Tommy?" In those few seconds before she spoke, a thought raced through my mind, Tommy had been in a car accident, but he would be okay. I would take care of him! That's what moms do, when their children are sick, or in a car accident. We get them better! That is not what she said to me. Words, that no mother ever should hear in her life, this I know. She said, "Tommy committed suicide" I looked at her and screamed. She repeated it, "Tommy committed suicide". I was on the floor rolling and rolling, back and forth, and I was screaming, I couldn't stop. "NO! NO! PLEASE GOD, NO! NOT MY SON! OH GOD, NO!" I could hear Bill, in the background somewhere. He kept saying, I can't believe it, I can't believe it, all the while I was screaming.

People were in my house, I didn't know who they were. Why are there strange people in my house? Who are these people? Maybe, they are going to help me! Yes, maybe they are here to help get my son back to me!! Yes, that's it, I will tell them that Tina said, Tommy committed suicide, and they will help me. What is happening? Dear God, this can not be true! No, not my son, not my Tommy. Why did Tina tell me my son committed suicide, he wouldn't do that?

That's a terrible thing to say, to a mother. I must be dead! That's it, I am dead and in Hell. Then, I hear myself screaming, "NO! NO!", I scream and scream.

Someone was checking me over. I looked him in the eyes. I said, "oh dear God, will you help me please?"

"My son, my son is dead."

Next thing I know is that I'm in an ambulance, where are they bringing me? Why is no one talking, or helping me get my son back home to me? I hear myself begging, I promise I will do anything for anyone just give me back my son.

The doctor walks in, he asked me what's wrong with me. What's wrong with me? My son is dead, that's whats wrong with me. I think I asked him if he could get my son back to me. Oh please God, don't take my son! I need my son! I love my son! It was some kind of terrible mistake. The doctor gave me a shot. In a few minutes, I calmed down! I felt like I wasn't here in this world, it felt unreal like I was watching some kind of horror show. This is a mistake, that's it, I am having a nightmare. I am going to wake up and tell my husband. I will say, "Bill, I had a terrible nightmare, it was the worse nightmare a mother could have! I dreamed Tommy was dead." But, it wasn't a nightmare, it was worse than any nightmare a mom could ever have!

I lost my voice for days. Shocked and heavy medications kicked in. I stopped crying, begging, breathing. I was in a drug induced daze. I would just quietly say, Tommy wouldn't do that to himself, he just wouldn't! I know my son, and he was a happy man, he wasn't suicidal! I would have known that, I am his mother for God's sake!

A few nights later, I was in my in my bed, and Tommy came to me. I heard his voice as though he were in the room with me. He said, "Mom, help me, I didn't mean to do it". I looked up and I said, "Tommy, I can't help you, you are already dead!" Dear God, already dead.

The next day, I called my daughter in-law, I asked her was Tommy on any medications? She said, yes, Zoloft and Wellbutrin.

Later, I got on my computer to see if these drugs had anything to do with Tommy's suicide. What I found out stunned me, made me sick, and angered the hell out of me. It is now seventeen long months, of sheer hell.

There is not a human being in this whole world that could even imagine, the unimaginable, incomprehensible agony I am suffering, unless they too have lost a child. The last thing I did for my son, out of love was to read his autopsy report. To stand witness to what happened to this child of mine. I read what that gun did to my beautiful child .

The things I found out about SSRI Drugs. The deaths, the destruction, the toll paid to human life, the lies, deception, hidden unfavorable trial study results, ghostwriters, money exchanging hands to prestigious university Professors who sign their names (sometimes without even bothering to read the paper) to favorable manipulated studies.

I learned that if results are bad, they are not submitted to the FDA, even that members of the FDA have a vested interest in the drug business. Lawsuits are settled out of court with gag orders in place. No one is standing up and telling the truth. Drug representatives tout to doctors the latest, and greatest anti-psychotics and antidepressants on the market. Because the more of these drugs that get prescribed to patients, the bigger their bonuses are. Doctors who prescribe without seeing their patients just a phone call will do, and no follow up with their patients.

Once prescribed psychiatric drugs you can stay on them for a life time. This was some thing I never knew. Weren't they (the drugs) just supposed to get someone through depression?

I learned about the black box warnings, the most stringent warning the FDA can administer.

May cause;  Suicidal Ideation, Psychosis, Hallucinations, Depersonalization, Hostility, Impuslsivity, and on and on.

Money to be had, that's for sure. It really is the bottom line, MONEY! They are not trying to make people well, they are trying to make people sick! Because the more sick people the bigger the profits, end of story!

My son had anxiety, a label given to him by some doctor who probably saw him once or twice. How did he come up with that diagnosis? Well it's right there in the DSM, the psychiatric bible. A committee gets together and they discuss symptoms, they group them so they can then give them a label, disorder, diagnosis.

Now, insurance companies will be able to pay to give the drugs to unsuspecting consumers. Funny! Well, not so funny, but pharmaceutical companies and the scientific evidence suggests that depression and some kinds of anxiety disorders "maybe" caused, by a "chemical imbalance" in the brain! Yet, there are no blood tests, x-rays, MRI'S, cat scans that can show this to be true.

Psychiatrist's cannot predict what adverse side effects you might experience because, (are you ready for this) ...not one of them knows how their drugs work. Just great, they make dangerous drugs to change our natural brain functions and they don't have a clue how they work! Homicide and suicide is the ultimate sacrifice that these drugs produce, because of their side effects.

The story doesn't end there.

The damage done to people's physical, mental, and spiritual bodies is far reaching. It can literally take years to recover and heal the body and brain from the use of these drugs and in many instances never. I know this because I have read hundreds of stories of agony placed on human lives by doctors who don't even know the debilitating outcome from these drugs.

I know many wonderful, intelligent, strong truth tellers and it would boggle the average citizen's mind to even know or understand the destructive, life altering consequences, from the taking all kinds of psychiatric drugs. Unless you, or someone you know and love was a victim of the drug lies.

Another fact about these drugs are the dangerous withdrawals from them. It's not an easy or quick process to wean off them. Just think it through, these chemicals, (which is what they are) have been used in many cases for years and years. Why do people stay on them? Because we want to believe our doctors.

If you tell them you are having strange side effects they may try you on a different drug or add to what you are already taking. A cocktail if you will. A drug to take care of the bad effect you are having on the first drug. Doctors tell their victims, (patients) you are defective and you are never going to get better, you must stay on these drugs for your life. It's a lie.

I am not a doctor, but my advice to all of you reading this is to heed the black box warnings.

If they [FDA] say, suicidal ideation, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia, mania, panic attacks, insomnia, depersonalization, heart attacks, sudden death and more, they say it for a reason. It's not because one person had a certain symptom or side effect that they list it in the warning.

Believe me big pharma doesn't want to scare people away, they want customers. Don't be fooled by the age limit either. The warnings saying short-term placebo-controlled trials of antidepressant drugs increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults. My son was 42 years old. He was a husband, father, brother, nephew, cousin, friend and son. He loved his family and his life. He was never suicidal in his life....it was the antidepressants that killed my son. Let anyone try to prove me wrong.

Before you accept any psychotropic drug ask for full disclosure, research it at the library, computer, a college or university, buy a book or two on the subject of psychotropic drugs and their effects on the human brain. There are many people who can give you the straight up facts. People who have been studying the sad truthful results for years, decades. Who have testified at court proceedings, about the warnings of suicide and homicide. When all is said and done, we might also come to realize mass shootings may also be attributed to psychiatric medication as well. You owe it to yourselves, and your loved ones to be informed of potential deadly outcomes.

And me? Maybe you are wondering how I am. I will never be the woman and mother I was before my son died. A piece of me died on that September afternoon. I am left with pictures and memories. His sisters, lost their big brother that day. Tommy's dad lost his only son. Tommy will never see his beautiful children grow up. He will never get to hold grandchildren on his knee. His wife, a widow in her thirties, will not have her husband to grow old with. His children, fatherless, no more catch out in the back yard. No more helping with school work. Their daddy will not be there to witness their great accomplishments or their little ones. A lot was taken from this family the day Zoloft and Wellbutrin took Tommy's life. Rest in peace Tommy, and know that Mommy loves you bigger than the whole world.

Elaine Billings.

If you wish to contact Elaine you can do so via her Facebook page here.


Thomas E. Fort Jr. [42]



Ilion, New York--Thomas E. Fort Jr. age 42, passed away, on Thursday afternoon on September 8, 2011, In Ilion, NY. He was born on January 25, 1969, in Ilion, son of Thomas E. Fort Sr., of Ilion, and Elaine P. (Baker) Billings, of Ilion. He graduated from Utica College with a degree in Criminal Justice. On September 23, 1995, he was joined in marriage with Tina M. Failing in Annunciation Church, Ilion; a union of nearly 16 years. He entered into service with the New York State Police on October 12, 1992, and earned the rank of Investigator on February 4, 1999, an eventually the rank of Sgt. on May 3, 2007. During his eighteen year tenure with the State Police, he was a hostage negotiator, crime scene technician and a polygraphist.

Tom was successful in the personal roles of his life and devoted to his family which earned him the admiration and respect of his wife and children. He served as an excellent and inspiring role model while performing his duties as a New York State Trooper and eventually as a Sgt. and Investigator. He loved sports, golfing and especially coaching his children's sports teams. Tom will be forever remember by his family and friends.

Survivors include his beloved family family; his wife, Tina M. (Failing ) Fort, of Ilion; a daughter Morgan Fort; a son. Brett Fort; his mother and step-father Elaine and William Billings, of Ilion; his father, Thomas Fort, Sr., of Ilion; mother in-law Donna Bailey, of Little Falls; father in-law, Marty Failing; of Little Falls; grandmother, Eleanor Kuhner, of Ilion; sisters and brother in-laws, Nicole and Gary Stuart, of Scotia, and Kelly and Sam Dickenson, of Glens Falls; brother-in-law and companion, Paul Failing and Adrain DePetro, of Little Falls; a step brother and sister in-law, Steve and Amy Billings, of Dolgeville; numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins; as well as many great friends. He was predeceased in death by his maternal grandfather, Frank Baker; paternal grandparents, Leland and Betty Fort; and by an uncle, Robert Fort.


If you or anyone you know has been affected by suicide and you wish to talk about it then please contact Casper, the New Zealand based suicide prevention charity.



If you would like the opportunity to write a guest post for this blog then please contact me using the contact tab at the top of this blog or contact me via my Facebook page [click the Facebook logo below and 'Like' page]

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Type in the name of the drug you have concerns about in box below.